TOUR REVIEW: Duran Duran at Madison Square Garden
When you think of Duran Duran, it’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia. Along with The Cure and Depeche Mode, Duran Duran remain a classic band that helped define 80’s synthpop music. However, you can still hear a lot of their decades-old hits in clubs and bars as though they were released yesterday.
They made a dynamic return this year with a marquee performance at Coachella, and released their 13th album All You Need Is Now. The record has been positively received by critics and fans, many who joined me at their October 25th gig at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
There were no outlandish sets like many MSG shows. Just a stage, the band and, of course, frontman Simon Le Bon’s sparkly pants. But the flashy stage lights and go-go dancers couldn’t outshine his enduring voice. Joined by band members Roger Taylor, John Taylor and Nick Rhodes, they were anything but outdated.
The show was filled with Duran classics like “Planet Earth” and my personal all-time favorite “Come Undone.” The biggest testament of Duran Duran’s staying power is that their live performance flows seamlessly from old to new songs. There were just as many fans rocking out to the current stuff, including the set opener “Before the Rain” and the edgy “All You Need Is Now.”
Another highlight of the show came when The Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic joined the band for “Safe,” calling Duran Duran her “first musical obsession.” Mark Ronson, who produced the latest album and is rumored to be penning the new James Bond theme with the band, took the stage for their current single “Leave a Light On.” Duran Duran of course kept the Duranies happy, singing hits “Ordinary World,” “Hungry Like the Wolf” and encored with “Wild Boys” and “Rio.”
It’s hard for some to fathom a band whose heyday was three decades ago filling an arena as big as MSG, but Duran Duran showed newfound supporters why that still happens. By not deviating from the original style and sound that loyalists appreciate, they are able to pull off performances of this magnitude. “We played here 30 years ago," said Le Bon. "We're proud to play here for you people in 2011.” Not everything that came out of the 80's is still greeted with positive reception, but Duran Duran reminds us why some bands from the past are always welcome in the present.
Katherine Epstein (@RTNowRadio) for RightNowRadio © 2011